Goals from Pedro and Giroud set up tie last 4 clash against Eintracht Frankfurt
Chelsea held off a second-half comeback by Slavia Prague to progress to the UEFA Europa League Semi-Finals with victory in the second leg at Stamford Bridge.
Having secured a valuable 1-0 advantage in the Czech Republic, Maurizio Sarri’s side were cruising at half-time with a four-goal aggregate lead before Petr Sevcik produced two sensational strikes as the nerves crept into a previously dominant Chelsea performance.
Pedro gave Chelsea an early lead (5) before Simon Deli’s unfortunate own goal extended Chelsea’s advantage (10).
Olivier Giroud scored Chelsea’s third on the night – and his tenth in the competition this season – with a simple tap-in (17) before Pedro added Chelsea’s fourth (27) – 63 seconds after Slavia captain Tomas Soucek pulled a goal back (26).
Sarri’s side lost their rhythm after the break and only mustered two shots at goal as Slavia stepped up their intensity as two quickfire goals from Petr Sevcik (52 and 54) to give the Czech visitors hope of a comeback.
Chelsea’s mini-capitulation almost cost the club a chance of continuing one of their two hopes of securing Champions League football next season. Thankfully though, the Blues were able to hang on and progress to the last four of the competition against Bundesliga side Eintracht Frankfurt.
To say this was a game of two contrasting halves would be a huge understatement.
Possession (%) – Chelsea 55%, Slavia Prague 45%
Shots – Chelsea 9, Slavia Prague 11
Shots on Target – Chelsea 4, Slavia Prague 4
Corners – Chelsea 3, Slavia Prague 4
Fouls – Chelsea 9, Slavia Prague 19
Offsides – Chelsea 2, Slavia Prague 4
Yellow/Red Cards – Chelsea 4/0, Slavia Prague 2/0
(Bonus Stat) 10 – Olivier Giroud is the first Chelsea player to score 10 goals in a single season in European football.
• First-half was very good, second half was absolutely shocking
• Going forward we were fine, but defensively we were embarrassing.
• Giroud aka ‘Thursday Night Ronaldo’ delivering as per usual.
• Thankfully we’re through.
Chelsea Player/Manager Ratings
Kepa – 6, Not his best. Starting to notice a trend of a potential weakness of his… long-range shots/goals. Whether it’s a positional issue or an anticipation fault, it’s something that needs to be addressed in pre-season. Booked.
Azpilicueta – 5, One week good, one week alright, one week bad. ‘Mr. Consistent’ is starting to become very inconsistent.
Christensen – 6, Not his best performance in recent memory but was the only one of the back four that still showed a slither of defensive reassurance tonight.
David Luiz – 4, Watching him tonight felt like watching when he first signed back in 2011. A comical display. Booked.
Emerson – 5, Wasn’t his best night, let’s be honest. Booked.
Kanté – 5, Tried his usual best in terms of work-rate, but he was off his game tonight and let’s be honest… he has been for a few games now. Fatigue kicking in even for our Duracell man? Booked.
Kovačić – 5, His performance showed why Jorginho is needed in that role. Obviously showed.
Barkley – 4, awful performance. Did he even touch the ball more than ten times?
Pedro – 7, MOTM. Started very well and his contribution (2 goals along with forcing an own goal) showed that on his day he still has enough talent in him to justify being part of this team/squad. The only problem is those days are becoming few and far between unfortunately.
Giroud – 7, Good performance from the Frenchman, who continued his rich reign of form in the competition.
Hazard – 6, Tried his best and showed his talents which are far and away levels above everyone else on the pitch, but the constant fouling and hacking down by the opponents forced him off in the end. Hopefully more of a precaution than anything.
Willian (65′ for Hazard) – 6
Jorginho (71′ for Barkley) – 6
Hudson-Odoi (86′ for Pedro) – N/A
Nothing special from any of the substitutes, just a matter of helping the team in the end to get through the rocky second-half and seal the semi-final spot.
Maurizio Sarri – 6, Picked a team that on paper was good enough to get past Slavia Prague and book our place in the last 4 and this showed in the first half. The second half however, was absolutely horrendous. Once again, the brittle mentality of the players reared their ugly heads and nearly put one of our chances at securing Champions League football next season in jeopardy.
What i would do to be a fly on the wall for the half-time team-talks…